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'Tappa' laments poor pitch, lighting in Guyana stroll

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore's Reggae Boyz were never in danger of losing their Concacaf Nations League B match against hosts Guyana near here on Monday night. The 4-0 victory in the Group C contest at Leonora Track and Field Centre was a strong statement that the Boyz were in control.

Still, they were prevented from playing their typical game by a bumpy and hard pitch, and poor lighting. On the night, FC Cincinnati defender Alvas Powell scored his maiden goals for Jamaica in the 14th and 26th minutes, while forward Dever Orgill also got a quick-fire brace in the 44th and 54th to see off the Golden Jaguars in unfavourable conditions.

“The pitch was not conducive to what we are accustomed to, as we didn't get to play the way we wanted to, and we missed out on a couple of things, including the passing game, but I was satisfied with the result because we scored goals and we didn't concede.

“I believe a number of players had difficulty with the pitch, including Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen of Germany) and Bobby Reid (Fulham in England),” Whitmore told the Jamaica Observer. The Jamaica coach said even with the mitigating circumstances, he thought the team gave up ground in latter stages of the contest, a problem he cited in the first Nations League game against Antigua and Barbuda on Friday night at Montego Bay Sports Complex. Jamaica won that encounter 6-0.

“I think the second half of the game, especially in the last 20 to 25 minutes, we dropped our standard and I think it is a major concern going forward.

“I am pleased overall, but there is still room for improvement. Yes, we played two games over a short period of time and we scored 10 goals and we didn't concede, so I think we are on a good path, but we just have to try to be consistent as we look forward to the October game [against Aruba],” Whitmore said.

The France '98 star said he was particular delighted that the team is finding new goalscoring sources, lessening its dependency on strikers alone.

“It's very pleasing because on numerous occasions we are depending only on the strikers to score, but when you have defenders like Powell, who can get goals, and not just from dead-ball situations, this is a plus for us,” he stated.

Whitmore said already the planning machinery is in motion for the next Nations League fixture away to minnows Aruba in October.

“It's good you asked that question, because as far as we are concerned, it's all about planning, preparation and execution.

“Just last night (Monday) you could see the team manager (Roy Simpson) starting to put things in place for the Aruba game, and that's says a lot of how we want to proceed,” Whitmore ended.

— Sean Williams